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  • Writer's pictureStuart

In the footsteps of Dinosaurs

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

In 1999 I was working as a researcher at BBC Science alongside Producer Teresa Hunt (now a good friend, and the reason I got a job there, but that's a long story for a later date...).

We were seconded to work on a programme for BBC Knowledge (now BBC Four) called "Meet the Dinosaurs" which was a weekend-long outside-broadcast from the Natural History Museum in Oxford, linking episodes of Walking with Dinosaurs and Dinosaur Detectives with some original content. It was presented by Julian Richards from "Meet the Ancestors" and Sally Gray from "Dinosaur Detectives" - hence the show's title.

As well as co-ordinating the audience of schoolkids, I was PA on a location shoot at a council landfill site in Oxford where some dinosaur footprints were discovered.

Co-presenting this sequence was palaeontologist Dr Phil Manning from the University of Manchester who was demonstrating how he identified the footprints as those of an iguanodon.

Dr Manning was just like Sam Neill's Dr Alan Grant from Jurassic Park and when he excitedly told us that the 10-meter long beast was probably running at the time we all had goosebumps. Even though it was 6am on a very cold and wet winter's morning, that day was a life high-point - standing there looking at a set of 120 million year old footprints walking off into the distance where the sun was rising.

Anyway, I was delighted to read that Dr Manning was in the news the other week having apparently found a 76cm-long T-Rex footprint in Montana.

Watch some of the Meet the Dinosaurs programme here (from my personal VHS copy).

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